The problem of students’ emotional and behavioral disturbance is extremely important and needs effective measures that can minimize its negative impact on the development of students. In this respect, it is necessary to find out the major factors influencing emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students. This paper basically proves the fact that biological factors play the determinant role in emotional and behavioral disturbance of students which outweighs socio-cultural factors that are traditionally considered to be of a paramount importance.
Nowadays, the problem of emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students is very significant problem which affects dramatically the development of students. Basically, it should be pointed out that emotional and behavioral disturbance of students prevent students from the normal process of development and socialization. As the matter of fact, this problem influences all spheres of students’ life and their environment. At the same time, it is obvious that this problem needs to be solved in the possibly earlier stages of emotional and behavioral disorders of students.
In this respect, it should be said that in order to solve the problem of emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students, it is necessary to clearly define the essence of the emotional and behavioral disturbance and find out basic factors that influence the development of this disturbance. As a result, it will be possible to define the major ways of the solution of this problem but primarily it is necessary to clearly define what the root of emotional and behavioral disturbance of students actually is.
The importance of emotional and behavioral disturbance of students
In fact, the problem of emotional and behavioral disturbance of students is one of the major challenges students may face in the process of their development. It is necessary to underline that emotional and behavioral disorders can appear at different stages of the development of children and often they produce a profound impact on the development of the personality of students in both physical and psychological spheres. It should be said that emotional and behavioral disturbance of students influences not only academic successes of students but also their moral development and, in fact, sometimes emotional and behavioral disturbance of students is viewed as a problem of their academic activities and school life, but, in actuality, the family of students are also dramatically affected by emotional and behavioral disorders of students (Stewart, 314).
To put it more precisely, it should be said that emotional and behavioral disturbance really affects academic successes of students. In fact, in case of any problems related to emotional and behavioral disorders, students behavior and psychological states changes dramatically leading to the growing number of conflicts with peers and adults that gradually results in the exclusion of students from their peer group (Morris-Yates, 138). In other words, emotional and behavioral disturbance leads to the exclusion of students and, therefore, prevents them from the normal integration in the life of their group, normal relationships with their peers, teachers, and other significant adults.
At the same time, emotional and behavioral problems cannot fail to affect their academic successes since when students suffer from emotional and behavioral disturbances they cannot pay enough attention to the process of learning. As a rule, the academic successes of such students are very poor and there is a strong trend to the deterioration of academic achievements of students in the course of the development of emotional and behavioral disturbance (Cadoret, 81). As their emotional state and behavior changes dramatically, they become more focused on their internal world, their feelings and problems they believe they have. Moreover, their behavior becomes unpredictable and their mood changes dramatically in very short periods of time. This is why they cannot concentrate on one activity for a long time and, therefore, the academic routine becomes simply unbearable for students that have some emotional and behavioral disturbance.
Furthermore, specialists (Rutter, 69) also point out that relationships with parents also deteriorate dramatically because students become more and more alienated, they do not want to share their problems, their feelings, thoughts and ideas with their parents, that naturally results in their isolation since they become totally focused on their own problems and their own world which they do not want to give access to anyone to. As a result, students with emotional and behavioral disturbance become simply excluded from social life. They become outcasts in school and they do not want to communicate with their parents that naturally leads to their exclusion and, what is more, it affects negatively the process of socialization of students that may influence their adult life as well. In such a way, emotional and behavioral disturbance of students is a very serious problem which influences their academic achievement, social development and experience, and affects dramatically their relationships with their parents.
Socio-cultural factors influencing emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students
Traditionally, specialists (Glass, 51) define various factors which influence the development of emotional and behavioral disturbance of students among which socio-cultural factors are often considered to be the most significant. However, in actuality, such an approach to emotional and behavioral disturbance of students is a bit biased and determined by trends to the domination of social factors in the formation of the personality of an individual. To put it more precisely, this approach is based on the idea that the social factors are determinant in the development of an individual, but, at the same time, this approach practically totally ignores the recent scientific findings of genetics as well as traditional view on the impact of heritage and biological factors on the development of an individual.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to briefly dwell upon the major socio-cultural factors that influence emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students. First of all, it is possible to single out the impact of the nearest environment of students, i.e. the impact of their families. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the researches concerning the problem of the impact of the family on the behavior of students, according to which, students that grow in violent families also tend to aggressive and violent behavior (Collins, 121). In such a way, it is possible to argue that it is the family, namely parents, that may provoke or influence the development of emotional and behavioral disturbance of students.
Another important factor that is supposed to influence emotional and behavioral disturbance of students is the impact of their peers (Glass, 63). This means that students may be negatively influenced by their peers, for instance, in the result of personal conflicts or problems student may get excluded from their peer groups, or, in contrast, they may intentionally distance from their peers because of different interests, views or beliefs.
In this respect, it is also necessary to take into consideration the impact of school at large on emotional and behavioral disturbance of students. It is not a secret that school environment and the process of learning can provoke a serious stress leading to the growing disturbance of students and emotional and behavioral disorders (Collins, 129). The reason for such changes is often may be found in the inability of student to get used to the school environment.
At the same time, many specialists argue that the cultural background of students is one of the major factors that determine their emotional and behavioral disturbance (Cadoret, 83). To put it more precisely, it is argued that the cultural environment of students shape their beliefs, norms and standards of behavior and their lifestyle at large and any changes or violation of these norms and standards leads to emotional and behavioral disturbance of students
Biological factors as the main factors determining emotional and behavioral disturbance of students
However, socio-cultural factors basically play secondary role in the development of emotional and behavioral disturbance of students. In this respect, it should be said that biological factors are consistently more important than socio-cultural ones. In fact, it proves beyond a doubt that the formation of a child begins since the moment of his/her birth. This means that a child develops the unique emotional characteristics and certain models of behavior but it does not necessarily mean that he/she acquires them from outside, from parents, other adults or children (Peterson, 253). In fact, it is the biological development of children that determines their emotional state, which, in its turn, produces a profound impact on their behavior.
What is meant here is the fact that since the beginning of their life children have the elementary biological needs, for instance, they need to receive nutrition regularly, they need someone take care over them, etc. If they receive all they need in time and in sufficient amount their body develops normally, they receive all essential elements and their development is balanced. Consequently, they do not have any disturbances or problems and naturally their emotional state remains stable as long as they receive all they need to meet their biological needs. In contrast, if a child does not receive sufficient nutrition than he/she may get some problems in the physical development that naturally affects the emotional state and behavior of a child. For instance, the malnutrition leads to the higher level of disturbance and can provoke hysterical or depressing states (Collins, 131).
As they grow older their needs changes in accordance with biological changes that occur to their body. In this respect, it should be said that the period of adolescence is probably the most important and difficult. On the other hand, at this age the impact of biological factors becomes particularly evident. It should be said at the period of adolescence students have to pass through the dramatic physical changes which substantially influence their emotional state and inevitably affect their behavior (Ainslie, 75). It is not a secret that adolescent is a transitional stage between childhood and adulthood and it is during this stage students get mature and acquire biological features of adults. In this respect, it should be said that this period is accompanied by the enormous hormonal activity, which cannot fail to affect the emotional state of students and their behavior. For instance, the high level of testosterone in the organism of adolescent male students often provokes highly aggressive behavior which often becomes unpredictable and uncontrollable by students. As a result, such a change in the balance of chemical elements in the body of students affects dramatically their emotional state and behavior that may naturally lead to emotional and behavioral disturbance.
In addition to biological changes that occur to human body in the process of its development and that influence emotional state and behavior of students, it is also possible to mention the impact of heritage or genes. In this respect, it should be said that this biological factor outweigh consistently socio-cultural one because it is scientifically proved that genes may determine certain behavior and inclinations of people making them more susceptible to certain models of behavior or emotional states, while the impact of the family as a social unit is absolutely irrelevant while the link between parents and children is not social but rather biological since the child inherits genes of his/her parents (Mann, 134). As a result, students may inherit some emotional or behavioral disorders that may be revealed at different stages of the development of students. In this respect, researches of twins development prove the similarity in emotional and behavioral problems they have that may be explained by genetic factors and their heritage (Ainslie, 117)
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that emotional and behavioral disturbance of students is a very serious problem that needs the assistance and professional help to students. But it is necessary to realize the fact that the help should be mutual, uniting the efforts of education professionals, psychologists, and parents. At the same time, to solve this problem it is necessary to pay particular attention to factors that influence such problems. In this respect, biological factors prove to be particularly significant and this is why they need to be taken consideration while working or communicating with emotionally and behaviorally disturbed students.